This week’s lunch

January 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm

As I hinted in my previous post, I made Rachael Ray’s Not-sagna Pasta Toss today to bring to school for lunch this week.  The meal is supposed to mimic the taste of lasagna without all the work and does a decent job of it.  I think its unhealthy to get too bogged down in following recipes to the letter (unlike the unhappy author of the second comment on this page) , so I made the following alterations (and still produced a quite yummy pot of pasta).

  • My grocery store didn’t have ground sirloin, so I purchased ground beef.  If you don’t like ground beef, do something really crazy like using ground turkey.  You’re eating it, use something you like.
  • I could eat pasta every day if my family would let me, but to enrich the nutrition a bit I used whole wheat pasta.  Also, our store didn’t have campanelle, so I used rotini.  Short, curly pasta is short curly pasta.
  • We didn’t have an open bottle of red wine, so I skipped it.  Yes, red wine would probably deepen the taste a little, but skipping it isn’t going to ruin the dish and I’m not opening a bottle just for a half cup
  • I used dried, jarred basil which is certainly not my first choice, but for the sake of budget and such, I made due.
  • My amounts were a little off.  I hate recipes that leave you with a tiny bit of something left in the box, so I used a box of pasta (13.5 ounces…why it wasn’t a pound to begin with, I’ll never know) and a container of ricotta cheese, which was closer to 1 3/4 cups…what was I going to do with a 1/4 cup of ricotta left over?

All that said, if you believe I followed the recipe at all, I think it’s pretty tasty.

It got very mixed reviews on the Food Network page, despite the final score of 4 stars. Some people compare it to Hamburger Helper, which I guess is a bad thing if you don’t like Hamburger Helper.  But it’s from 30 Minute Meals, not a gourmet cookbook, so I’m not inclined to be too critical of it.  Some people said it was really bland but I guess I’m not picky.  Others suggested adding mozzarella cheese, which I definitely think would be a plus.  Maybe I’ll remember to try that next time. I will say that the sauce is pretty thin, my sister’s one complaint, but some of that may be due to the aforementioned disproportion of ingredients.

Finally, if you’re going to make this recipe please, please note that it does not serve 4.  It serves 8.  I fed my family of four and put aside 4 containers to take to school.  If you’re not serving high school boys, I would strongly suggest halving the recipe (though then you’re stuck with half a container of ricotta…)

Overall, its good.  It’s warm, it’s filling and it makes a good lunch for school.  I’d make it again.

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